The MA(h)AS project aims at exploring the strategies used such typologically different languages as English and Spanish for expressing manner in actions related to verbal interaction (‘say’/’decir’, ‘gasp’/’hablar entre jadeos’), sensory perception (‘taste’/saborear’), the physical response to emotions (‘blush’/’ruborizarse’, ‘smile’/’sonreir’) and the manipulation of objects (‘dice’/’cortar en dados’). The study focuses on four experiential domains little explored by typological research and approaches them from the vantage point of the genres where the strategies are used, typically narrative genres (novels, comics, short films and documentaries) and instructive genres (recipes and cooking programs, manuals, diverse tutorials).
Using text and audiovisual corpora and combining assumptions from genre studies and cognitive linguistics, particularly research on motion events after Leonard Talmy’s work, we adress three basic questions:
• How do English and Spanish speakers express manner in the aforementioned domains?
• What does this use reveal about these languages and their typological caracterization in Cognitive Semantics?
• How does discourse context (genre) affect the expression of manner? Is the rhetorical style resulting from typological differences between English and Spanish maintained across all genres where manner is a critical component? If so, is this impact the same for each language?
The novelty of the proposal rests upon (a) the choice of both manner as the object of study and the domains of action where manner plays a role, all of them underexplored from a typological perspective; (2) the choice of genre as the vantage point to explore manner; together with being a rich context that may help explain how and why some strategies are used , the top-down approach typical of genre research may provide a new perspective into the bottom-up approach followed in cognitive studies and typological research; (3) the inclusion of multimodality in the study of manner.
Versus the tendency to classify languages after their expression of motion events with no consideration towards other uses, where English remains the default language, and the scant or no alusion to the characteristics of the context where the expressions appear, the present project aims at offering a less biased, wider and more real view of languages in that (a) English is not taken as setting the standard of use, (b) domains other than motion are considered, and (c) manner is framed in rich and complex contexts. Finally, given the importance of manner in the natural use of languages, and the differences among languages in this regard, we will use the project to design materials for learning English and Spanish as foreign languages.
KEY WORDS: semantic typology, discourse genres, manner complement, language learning-teaching, lexical semantics, discourse